Chloroplasts were acquired by eukaryotic cells through endosymbiosis and have retained their own gene expression machinery. One hallmark of chloroplast gene regulation is the predominance of posttranscriptional control, which is exerted both at the gene-specific and global levels. This review focuses on how chloroplast mRNA stability is regulated, through an examination of poly(A)-dependent and independent pathways. The poly(A)-dependent pathway is catalyzed by polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase), which both adds and degrades destabilizing poly(A) tails, whereas RNase II and PNPase may both participate in the poly(A)-independent pathway. Each system is initiated through endonucleolytic cleavages that remove 3' stem-loop structures, which are catalyzed by the related proteins CSP41a and CSP41b and possibly an RNase E-like enzyme. Overall, chloroplasts have retained the prokaryotic endonuclease-exonuclease RNA degradation system despite evolution in the number and character of the enzymes involved. This reflects the presence of the chloroplast within a eukaryotic host and the complex responses that occur to environmental and developmental cues.